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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Alaska As sockeye taper off, overall salmon harvest ahead of last year Alaska Journal of Commerce by Elizabeth Earl - August 10, 2022 As summer begins to fade, the salmon season has reached a lull but is still significantly ahead of last year’s harvest by this time. Southeast pink salmon catch on track to meet forecast KFSK by Joe Viechnicki - August 10, 2022 The commercial catch of pink salmon in Southeast Alaska is already looking better than harvests in 2020 and 2018. West Coast As 2022 Fraser River Sockeye Return, Historical Notes on Year Class Show Variability, Resilience by Peggy Parker - August 10, 2022 The forecast for this year’s sockeye return to the Fraser River is 9.8 million fish, significantly lower than the parent year’s pre-season forecast in 2018 of 14.98 million. But that forecast was dropped to 10.9 million after the season was over and the harvest from that run was only 5.19 million sockeye. Further, the escapement into the Fraser’s watershed creeks, rivers, and lakes was only 4.1 million, the lowest since 1994. Sockeye salmon are four-year-fish, meaning that in general after their fresh-water hatch in the spring, the year class migrates downriver to the ocean and spends four years feeding in saltwater before returning to spawn in their fourth summer. In the Fraser, high percentages — as high as 97% in some years — of the return are adult, or four-year-old fish. To get a better idea on the ancestry of this year’s sockeye as the return peaks later this month, SeafoodNews looked back five generations to compare the returns of this year’s parents, grandparents, and earlier generations. We compared stock strength, run timing, pre-season forecast accuracy, catch and escapement for the brood years 2018, 2014, 2010, 2006, and 2002. The Fraser sockeye run is made up of four individual runs, defined by timing and geographic spawning areas. First is the Early Stuart run, usually peaking the first week in July. Next is the Early Summer run, peaking in the first week of August. Then the Summer and Late runs, which make up the bulk of the return, peaking in mid- to late-August. Looking only at this year’s progenitors over the last two decades, two things are clear -- run size is diminishing and returns are shifting to later in the calendar. First, the size of the run has dropped each brood year and the rate of decline has tripled in recent years. Run size is determined by scientists at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Fraser River Panel of the Pacific Salmon Commission in a series of steps. First is the pre-season forecast of run size, then the more accurate and real-time in-season adjustments, and finally, the post-season total size after all the data is in. In our comparisons, we looked at the final run size, which dropped 13% from 2002 brood class to the next returning run in 2006, or from 15.13 million sockeye in 2002 to 12.98 million in 2006. Those brood year to brood year differences rose from a 13% change (2002-2006) to a 41% drop between 2010 and 2014 and a 46% drop from 2014 to 2018. The final run size in 2018, parent to this year’s return, was dropped from 12.27 million in season to 10.9 million for the final report a few months later. This year’s preseason forecast is 9.775 million, close to 2018's final run size. The second trend over the time series is the timing of all four components of the Fraser sockeye fishery are returning later each brood year compared to the year before. In this metric, scientists compare return timing to the previous year, not to the brood year. This year, the Early Stuart run is nearly over, and biologists have noted that it peaked on July 6, rather than July 4. In 2018, the same observation was made — the peak came on July 4 rather than July 2. In the final report of the 2014 brood year, the run peaked on July 12 compared to 2013’s July 7. Similarly timing reports cited the Early Stuart run 3 days later in 2010 and 4 days late in 2006, both comparisons from the year earlier. Looking at all five previous brood years, 2010 stands out for a number of reasons. First, it is the only year in this series when pre-season forecasts underestimated the return. Each of the five parental years we compared missed (overestimated) the pre-season forecast by at least 2.6 million in 2014 and as high as 9 million in 2006. But in 2010, the opposite happened. The pre-season forecast of 11.44 million was quickly amended upward as the Early Stuart and Early Summer runs came in. It was finally set at 34.55 million after the Summer and Late runs had returned and all the data had been analyzed. The catch that year was 11.6 million sockeyes in Canada and 1.93 million in the U.S. Escapement in 2010 was 11.91 million, nearly three times the parent year’s escapement of 4.6 million (in 2006). In 2006, the escapement level was 54% of their parent’s escapement of 8 million in 2002. Another unique characteristic of 2010's run is the timing was off by much larger margins than any brood year since or before, except for the Early Stuart run. That run came in about three days later than the year before, the usual delayed timing seen in that run over the years. The 2010 Early Summer run, however, came in 13 days late; the Summer run was 12 days late, and the Late run ran 7 days later. The 2010 Fraser sockeye return, great grandparents to this year’s run, could be dubbed the “underestimated generation” at least as forecasts go, but their impact was not carried forward in any of the indicators. Their progeny returned in 2014 with a 41% drop in final run size, down to 20.23 million. Escapement was 5.8 million, half what the 2010 brood year achieved. In 2018, escapement lowered to 4.1 milion, the lowest count since 1994, and total run size dropped 46% from 2014 to 10.9 million in 2018. Another intriguing part of the Fraser sockeye return every year is the question of which approach will the fish take — through the U.S. Straits of Juan de Fuca or around Vancouver Island and through Canada’s Johnstone Strait? Each year the preseason forecast of the “diversion rate” — what percentage of the return will take the northern route — is corrected as test fishing occurs and the full run enters the river. In 2006 DFO predicted only 29% of the run, great-great grandparents to this year’s return, would go through Johnstone Strait, but 65% of the run did. In 2010, the Johnstone Strait diversion was 72%, again much higher than the preseason prediction. In 2014 the preseason prediction was 57%, but actual events shot past that to 96% of the run took the cooler, northern route. Then in 2018, after DFO predicted 63% of the run would go north before entering the Fraser, only 39% took that route. The approach returning salmon take is only one of the outside influences that have enormous impacts on each generational cohort. The anomalous heat wave in the Gulf of Alaska from 2014 to 2016 changed food availability and environmental stresses to the sockeye out migrating in 2014 and trying to survive the heat before returning in 2018. Most recently, the Big Bar Rockslide into the Fraser in November of 2018 and discovered in June 2019, nearly wiped out that year’s Early Stuart salmon run. They could not swim past the new 15-foot waterfall created by the slide. That barrier has not been mitigated to allow most of the returning salmon to navigate up river once again. The history of this years returning Fraser sockeye shows how variable one generation can be among those before and after. But it’s worth noting the impact recent events have had on the river’s other brood stocks as well. “The 2020 season saw a record low number of sockeye salmon return to the Fraser River,” begins the executive summary of the 2020 annual report of the Fraser River Panel to the Pacific Salmon Commission. “The previous lowest returns occurred in 2016 and 2019, making this the third record low in the last five years. The final 2020 in-season run size estimate of 365,200 sockeye was 61% less than the median forecast (941,000) and 88% below the cycle line average (3,100,000),” FRP wrote. The survival rates refer to four years of migration and feeding across the North Pacific, a section of the salmon’s life cycle that has been, until recently, sort of a ‘black box’. “This very low run size was further impacted by the Big Bar landslide of 2019, most notably early in the season when discharge levels were high and migration issues were prevalent from Hells Gate to the Big Bar Slide. The overall low run size in combination with the migration challenges resulted in the smallest spawning escapement in the Fraser River since the 1940’s,” the scientists wrote. And then, run timing was listed as earlier “in all sockeye management groups except for Early Stuart: 2 days later for Early Stuart run, 9 days earlier for Early Summer-run, 3 days earlier for Summer run and 4 days earlier for Late run,” the report noted. The prediction on the Johnstone Strait diversion rate was 25% compared to the pre-season forecast of 35%, much closer than seen in the brood year comparisons. Escapement in 2020 equalled the actual run size for all management groups, as no fishing was allowed. “Returns of adult Fraser sockeye totalled 363,800 fish… which was 59% below the return of 890,000 fish in the primary brood year (2016). This return was the smallest since records started in 1893,” the FRP wrote. The panel’s most recent notice confirmed that all Canadian waters remain closed to commercial salmon fishing, but that treaty tribes in Washington can fish with gill net gear in Areas 4B, 5, and 6C from noon today through noon Saturday. Their next meeting will be on Friday, August 12, 2022. Historical reports on the Fraser Sockeye fishery can be found here. National Senate bill passage buoys offshore wind developers – and oil National Fisherman by Kirk Moore - August 9, 2022 The U.S. Senate’s passage of the 700-plus-page, omnibus economic and energy Inflation Reduction Act includes $369 billion to advance clean energy programs, including offshore wind development and pressing a U.S. transition to electrifying transportation and residential energy use. International Seafood Industry Groups Comment on USTR’s Efforts to Combat Forced Labor in Foreign Supply Chains Urner Barry by Amanda Buckle - August 10, 2022 In early July the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued a request for comments on “Trade Strategy to Combat Forced Labor.” The USTR noted that the strategy would identify priorities and establish an action plan for utilizing existing and potential new trade tools to combat forced labor in traded goods and services. A deadline for public comments was set for August 5, and numerous seafood industry groups decided to use the opportunity to weigh in. The Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) was one group to submit comments. SSA argued that “an effective trade strategy for addressing forced labor must be built around border measures designed to keep goods produced through forced labor out of international commerce.” For SSA, they felt that public awareness campaigns, “on their own,” were “an insufficient mechanism for preventing foreign producers and U.S. importers from profiting off goods produced through severe human rights abuses.” That’s why the group feels that an “effective border measure regime administered by federal authorities” would be more effective. “The American seafood industry, including our shrimp industry, applauds the USTR’s efforts to reform trade policy to account for forced labor in foreign supply chains,” said John Williams, Executive Director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance. “For far too long, our market has allowed seafood importers to profit off the misery and exploitation of vulnerable people around the world. Cheap seafood has always come with a heavy toll paid by someone else and it is well past time that these harms are squarely and honestly addressed.” The Seafood Working Group (SWG) also submitted comments to the USTR. Like SSA, SWG’s comments were focused on the importance of border measures to address forced labor. Other suggestions from SWG include expanding the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act to encompass forced labor practices and that NOAA Fisheries account for labor and human rights violations in the administration of the Moratorium Protection Act. SWG also recommended that the provisions of the proposed America COMPETES Act that addressed forced labor in seafood supply chains be enacted; that the U.S. consider adopting something similar to the EU’s Third Country Carding Process for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; and that NOAA Fisheries include requirements to collect data on labor conditions in seafood supply chains for seafood under the Seafood Import Monitoring Program. The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) submitted comments as well, requesting that the USTR support 3d party certification programs, such as the FISH Standard for Crew. NFI and other U.S. and overseas seafood groups led the development of the FISH Standar, which is a voluntary labor certification standard that "integrates internationally recognized norms with current best practices, adapted to the at-sea operating environment." The certification "serves to identify and distingiush those fishing vessel owners or companies that achieve and maintain responsible labor practices for their crew members." NFI believes that widespread adopting for the FISH Standard by domestic and overseas harvesters will lead to "improved protections - and improved outcomes - in a supply chain link that by its nature may be more vulnerable than others to incidents of unfair worker treatment." NFI is also calling for the Biden Administration to utilize existing forced labor authorities and programs before seeking new ones, as well as to ensure that allegations of unfair treatment of workers are truly rooted in fact. "Regrettably, government determinations regarding allegations of forced labor and human trafficking all too often have broadly tarnished seafood products and producers without providing specific evidence in support of the determination in quesiton," wrote NFI. "When trying to identify and highlight proscribed practices around the world, it is critical for USTR -- and other federal agencies -- to docucment its conclusions with substantiating facts about the alleged abuses. Only then can USTR -- along with partners such as NFI -- accurately gauge the extent and nature of the problem and respond effectively." Federal Register Fisheries Off West Coast States; Modification of the West Coast Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Actions #16 Through #25 A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 08/11/2022 NMFS announces ten inseason actions in the 2022 ocean salmon fisheries. These inseason actions modify the commercial and recreational ocean salmon fisheries in the area from the U.S./Canada border to the U.S./Mexico border. Opinion Opinion: 'Imitation crab' is proof we have a major problem with plant-based seafood labeling I'm sorry, this just doesn't make sense. It reminds me of so-called 'tribute bands.' They look and sound like the real bands but they are simply imitating the real thing. Intrafish by John Fiorillo - August 10, 2022 Let me boil it down quickly: If surimi seafood has to carry the less-than-flattering word "imitation" on its label, why then doesn't plant-based seafood have to do the same? *Requires Subscription FYI’s NOAA Looking for Applications for New American Fisheries Advisory Committee Urner Barry by Ryan Doyle - August 10, 2022 NOAA Fisheries has made a call for applications to its new American Fisheries Advisory Committee which will consist of members from seafood sectors, including processors, recreational and commercial fishermen and seafood farmers, fisheries scientists, and regional fishery management council members. The new committee was created by the American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act in May 2022 to make recommendations for Saltonstall-Kennedy priorities and grant award funding, NOAA explained. The committee will consist of 22 members with three representatives from six regions. There will also be four at-large members, including one representative from the retail and marketing sector, commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries, and NOAA Fisheries. The committee will focus on making recommendations to the Secretary of Commerce for financial assistance awards under the S-K Grant Competition. It will also make recommendations to assist in the development of the annual Notice of Funding Opportunities for submission to the Grant Competition. "The new American Fisheries Advisory Committee will bring together a wide breadth of industry and stakeholder representatives from around the country to thoughtfully consider program priorities and make recommendations for the awarding of funds for Saltonstall-Kennedy grants,” said NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator, Janet Coit. “NOAA Fisheries is pleased to assist Secretary Gina Raimondo with the process of identifying candidates, and I encourage anyone who is interested in providing input on priority fisheries research and development projects to please apply." NOAA Fisheries explained that members will be selected so as many seafood species are represented as practical. Here is the breakdown of how the council will look: There will be three members from each region (18 total): - One seafood harvester or processor - One recreational or commercial fisherman or seafood farmer - One representative of the fisheries science community or the relevant regional fishery management council There will be four at-large members: - One individual with experience in food distribution, marketing, retail, or food service - One individual with experience in the recreational fishing industry supply chain, such as fishermen, - manufacturers, retailers, and distributors - One individual with experience in the commercial fishing industry supply chain, such as fishermen, manufacturers, retailers, and distributors - One employee of NOAA Fisheries with expertise in fisheries research The regions were broke down as followed by NOAA: - Alaska, Hawaii, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa - Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut - Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands - California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho - New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia - Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania Applications may be submitted to from August 10, 2022 until September 24, 2022. Check out more on the Committee here. Pacific Seafood Processors Association 1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119 Phone: 206.281.1667 E-mail:; Website: Our office days/hours are Monday-Friday 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. *Inclusion of a news article, report, or other document in this email does not imply PSPA support or endorsement of the information or opinion expressed in the document.


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